3 Reasons The Toronto Maple Leafs Will Pursue John Tavares

There is a lot of chatter around the league and in the media as to why the Maple Leafs should not pursue John Tavares. 
Salary implementations with signing Matthews, Marner & Nylander his fit on a team where he is not the focal point, JT is an elite #1 center and shouldn’t play a 2nd line role, etc etc.

Well let’s talk about the reasons why the Leafs will pursue Tavares.

#1. While the public look at the future cap situation regarding Matthews, Marner & Nylander as a deterrent to sign JT, I see it as a positive. With these 3 young guys currently on entry level deals, signing a guy like John Tavares this offseason would only solidify what money they have to spend on the big 3. It would give management a chance to maneuver contracts in their bottom six to free up the extra cash they need. Toronto is in a beautiful situation for maneuvering as they have more NHL ready prospects in the minors, ready to make the jump, then any other team in the league. These AHL players could easily round out a bottom six for peanuts of a cap hit.

#2. John Tavares is a Leafs fan. Obviously, there has been much talk of his home being Mississauga and his friends and family growing up cheering on the blue and white. For years, Don Cherry has been groaning on Coach’s Corner about the lack of Ontario born players to play on the leafs rosters. This is no longer the case. Of the 13 fwds on the roster, 7 are Ontario born and raised.

Marner – Markham, Ont
Kadri – London, Ont
Moore – Thornhill, Ont
Martin – Windsor, Ont
Brown – Toronto, Ont
Hyman – Toronto, Ont
Leivo – Innisfil, Ont

Is this just a weird coincidence with their recent success? Maybe.  It also doesn’t hurt that 4 of non-Ontario born players with the Leafs are absolute NHL studs in Matthews, Nylander, Marleau & Van Riemsdyk. However, to my point of Tavares being from just down the street, this seems to fit well with a formula which is currently working pretty well for the Blue & White.

#3. This is the most important reason. The main reason the Leafs will pursue John Tavares is because he is John Tavares. Here’s a news flash for everyone. There will be 31 teams that would like to sign JT in July and you can be sure he will hear from all of them. Lets go back a few year to when I first heard the name Tavares.  In 2005 JT was granted “Exception Player” Status by the OHL. This allowed him to be drafted by the Oshawa Generals at the age of 14 and play when he was 15.  To put this into perspective for you, there have only ever been 4 players granted “Exceptional Player” status in the OHL, 2 of which were Aaron Ekblad and Connor McDavid and the most recent being highly regarded New York Rangers Prospect Sean Day. Well , Tavares went on to be CHL “Rookie Of The Year” that year and “CHL Player Of The Year” the following season. 

Does anyone remember JT in the World Juniors? Enough said! The kid was just ridiculous, which of course netted Canada 2 World Junior gold medals in 2008 & 2009. Tavares also added a Spangler Cup gold metal in 2012, an Olympic gold medal in 2014, and a World Cup gold medal in 2016.

To close out point #3, Tavares has logged 600 NHL games so far and is just shy of a point per game. He regularly kicks in around the 30 goal mark, is a world class play maker, a character hockey player, a leader, and most importantly is still just 27 years old.

In summary: (#1) The Maple Leafs can make the make the money work. They seem to be the masters of working in the grey area anyway.  (#2) This could very well be a dream come true for both Tavares and the Leafs. (#3) Tavares is a world class, elite hockey player.

In closing, the Maple Leafs will pursue John Tavares because given the opportunity to sign John Tavares, you always sign John Tavares, Period.



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